Anxiety feels a bit like a buzzword these days. It seems like every Hollywood actor suffers from it and every other news article is about how stress/anxiety is affecting the nation.
But, why is this? Is it just the media focussing on a buzzword? Or is it simply that people are more anxious?
I think it’s the latter.
I think fast living, social media and social pressures are making us more anxious as a society.
I also think we’re hearing about it more because people are feeling more comfortable talking about it – which is great.
I should point out here that I have never been formally diagnosed with anxiety. However, it is something I’ve experienced and something I do struggle with in certain situations.
Last year there was a particular few weeks where things at work were really full on and it did affect my anxiety levels. I had a constant sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I was having multiple nightmares every night and I felt totally overwhelmed.
Here’s what I did then, and what I do now if the feeling returns.
Please note: This isn’t supposed to be a ‘cure-all’ post – it’s just what helps me. If you think you’re suffering from anxiety, please speak to a doctor. Certain lifestyle changes and tips can help, but it may be better to get professional guidance. Everyone is different and you might need a different approach.
How to ease anxiety
- Find the cause. Mine was pretty obvious – work! If you’re not sure what’s causing it, try and talk it out with someone (or write in a journal). It may be nothing in particular, but if it is, you can try to get to the root and tackle it from there.
- If there is a tangible cause – are there any practical solutions? For me I had to look at exactly what was stressing me out at work and consider ways I could make things more manageable. A lot of it also involved me changing my mindset. I realised I can only do what I can do, and I wasn’t willing to risk my mental health by trying to be all things to all people.
- Write in a journal. I’ll probably do a separate post on this, but writing in my ‘Happiness Planner’ (and writing in general) is probably one of the best things I do for my mental health. Writing brings a lot of peace – it just helps untangle your thoughts.
- Breathe, meditate, do some yoga. Anything that helps you connect with the present moment. Anxiety for me involves worrying about the future or ruminating about the past – becoming more present helps with this.
- Cut down on sugar and caffeine. I know – yawn. But it’s true. Caffeine and sugar are known for raising stress hormones which can bring on physical sensations of anxiety. Cut back a little, try herbal teas and see if it helps.
- Talk to someone. It sounds obvious, but bottling things up will not make the feeling go away. Get those feelings out of your system by talking to someone. Try going for a walk and chatting, sometimes this can help it feel less formal and you may be more inclined to open up.
While I do still feel anxious when it comes to driving, I’ve been lucky enough to not feel the full weight of anxiety since that bout last year.
I know I’m prone to it (you don’t develop an eating disorder without having some underlying issues with anxiety) but I seem to be OK these days at easing it and nipping it in the bud before it gets too much.
Yoga and writing helps day to day – that and my incredibly supportive and uplifting boyfriend, friends and family.
Hey – there’s another tip, surround yourself with your people and do so often.